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Brazilian election 'important step' for Boeing-Embraer deal

The presidential election in Brazil today is an "important step" for the proposed commercial aircraft joint venture between Boeing and Embraer.

The runoff election pits far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro against leftist candidate Fernando Haddad of the ruling Workers' Party, with the former previously speaking in favour of the venture and the latter against it.

"Today, indeed, is an important step," says Arjan Meijer, chief commercial officer of Embraer, of the election aboard an Embraer 190-E2 preview flight at the ALTA Leaders Forum in Panama today. While he declines to comment on the outcome, Brazilian government approval of the deal with Boeing is critical to its moving forward.

Bolsonaro was polling ahead of Haddad ahead of the vote today, according to reports.

Boeing would take an 80% stake in Embraer's commercial aircraft and services business, with the Brazilian airframer the minority partner, under the terms of the agreement announced in July. The deal values Embraer's commercial business, which includes the popular E-Jet programme, at $4.75 billion.

The tie-up followed Airbus' purchase of a 50.01% stake in Bombardier's CSeries programme in July, eight months after being announced. The A220, as the aircraft has been rebranded, competes with the larger models in Embraer's E-Jet line up.

Airbus' sales clout helped it win an order from JetBlue Airways for 60 A220-300s to replace its E190s, a type it launched in 2005.

Boeing and Embraer are in the process of "finalising" the joint venture agreement, says Meijer, adding that they maintain their target to close the deal in the second half of 2019.

In addition to government support, the tie-up needs shareholder and antitrust approval, he says.

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